AMOTEKUN AND THE CHAMELONS: COGITATIONS – Dare Akinniyi

On the 9th of January, in the new year 2020, the Governors of Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti, Osun, Lagos, and Ogun converged in Ibadan to launch the South-West Security Network better known as Operation ‘Amotekun’. The host, Ibadan — is the Capital of Oyo state and doubles as the Political secretariat of the Old Western region. This event came alive few months after these Governors pre-arranged on launching a joint initiative cum scheme to reinforce the Nigerian Police’s acts on the issues that relates to the security of lives and properties in their states — Oyo, Osun, Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti and Ogun.

One of the promoters and a foremost civil-military security scholar, Governor Kayode John Fayemi said insecurity of lives and property in recent times was the main reason behind the formation of the security outfit. Nevertheless, few days after the launch, the purpose of the security outfit got battered amidst arguments, as Amotekun, which was originally a regional intervention to the many security challenges controversially became a puzzle the federal government and some few social interests groups need to solve.

Personally, I am always of the view that our leaders should stock any thought or notion that will advance the welfare of their followers cum society. At different occasions, we have all agreed that our Police are over-stretched and ill-equipped, and if individual nation-states can devise means to protect its own constituents — it should be a welcome development by all. But again, people of double standards and prejudice will see ‘Amotekun’ as a war against their interest, political party, paymasters and ethnic group. These people are those I tagged “The Chamelons”. Security is the principal responsibility of and sane government, because it is the most important need of man. Life is universally considered sacred, but only the lives of the ruling oligarchy is sacred in Nigeria.

In the last few weeks, ‘Amotekun’ has become a trending subject practically every Nigerian can say something about due to many hullabaloos surrounding it.I want to assume that‘Amotekun’ is a supplement that will give our people confidence that they are being looked after by those they voted into office. Prior to the formal launch of this security initiative in Ibadan, there were insinuations that not all of the six governors were in support of the idea in its entirety. These claims got more credence when the security outfit was finally launched. Off course, three Governors were represented at the launch and their body languages became an issue with observers; immediately they were summoned by the presidency on why ‘Amotekun’ must not go on. Harsh reactions trailed the launch and the absence of the Governors of Lagos, Ogun and Osun. Out of the six governors, only three were present for the official Launch of Amotekun. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun and Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State did not show up. While Abiodun and Oyetola were represented by their deputies, no representative was sent by the Lagos state government to the inauguration ceremony.

The major disagreement that unsettled the security initiative blew in from the Presidency via a stratagem from the AGN — Attorney General of the Federation. Immediately after the governors launched the security outfit, the Federal Government through the Attorney General of the Federation, S.A.N Abubakar Malami professed it illegal. The minister of justice was firing from all cylinders to show the world that these governors had gone off all legal provisions to have such a sensitive but needed initiative created. Then I asked, “What is illegal in this act by the Governors in SW ?”. To make the whole situation shambolic and embarrassing, a group named Miyetti Alah, which to me is a mere trade group [with no constitutional role as a judge in matters of national interest] was vocal in the protest against ‘Amotekun’. They occupied major Talk shows, especially on ChannelsTV and dailies to display sheer ignorance and trepidation, throwing dirt at the Yorubas as an ethnic group with a ‘primitive’ style of politicking — an insult to a nation of men and women of substance and honour. I won’t go into details, who the Yorubas are but I will say the group [Miyetti Allah], parading itself as the mouthpiece of the North on this matter, is nothing but a group of scoundrels with no education and morals.

A week after the security outfit was launched, the Director of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Prof. Ishaq Akintola [ Yoruba nomenclature] accused the south-west governors — five of whom are Christians — of turning Amotekun into a “crusader militia”. In Nigeria, where religious biases always infiltrate every matter of national interest, one must expect such shallow thoughts from fanatics regardless of their level of education. Amotekun has also suffered the same fate. Imagine a twist to Amotekun on the premises of a hoax — that the ongoing recruitment into the security outfit requires birth certificates registered only in churches? Apart from his usual illogical and incoherent outbursts, I think there is something amiss with his person — psychologically I presume.

Afenifere — the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, declared that the South-west security outfit, Amotekun, was a combat won against the imperial Federal Government, and in furtherance of federalism. In a statement issued at the end of its general assembly held at the Akure residence of its leader, Pa. Reuben Fasoranti, Afenifere declared that “Amotekun is a war won in federalism,” accusing the Federal Government of complicity in the murder of Fasoranti’s daughter, Olufunke Olakunri. The Yoruba elders expressed dismay that the Nigeria Police stopped an investigation into the death of Olakunri, who was killed last year July by gunmen along Ore/Lagos Expressway. Incessantly, I have called on ‘Afenifere’ to take charge of activities on issues that have to do with the emancipation of the Yorubas — as this is the core of their establishment; let me say I am happy that they gave a nod to this, maybe because they have had their own fair bite of the pie but they have spoken well.

The initiative has been sternly criticized in the North and declared “illegal” by the Northern dominated federal government. The declaration which was made by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami has expanded the cold war between the North and South. The Southwest, supported by the Southeast and South-south, has sworn to carry on while the Northwest, Northeast, and parts of the North-central are insisting that would not be. In a grand style, the SouthWest House of Assemblies via their speakers agreed to give the necessary legal backing and its preparation will kick-off immediately without delay.

Jagaban’s long ‘deafening’ silence

Ever since ‘Amotekun’ became a national and contentious subject matter that attracts bold captions in our national dailies, the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has remained uncommunicative and vague on the matter. Tinubu’s deafening quietness on Amotekun is in itself a scandalous stance, as Yoruba leaders and groups have been elbowing him to say something about Operation Amotekun or go to hell.

His 2023 presidential ambition became a factor and critical in all things available before him, he is careful to fail at home for his quietness and on the other hand, he is scared of falling out with the North. In his tactical move and eventual show of concerns, he reluctantly gave a ‘dual-tone’ statement, standing on the legality of the initiative, which he said won’t harm the existence of anyone or other ethnic group — this statement was nothing but a clever exchange to address all and sundry to be calm. To me, his statement was an unintelligent PR to calm all nerves.

Governors of the six Southwest states moved to combat the poor security situation in their domains by establishing the Western Nigeria Security Network, codenamed ‘Operation Amotekun’ should be applauded by well-meaning and sane Nigerians. While we should be cautious of any act(s) that might want to undermine our unity, we will not allow the unnecessary loss of lives when we can protect ourselves.

May I ask you this, “Do we need the permission of any nomadic group and their sponsors to re-negotiate our co-existence and peace as a nation, before we do so?”

Dare Glintstone-Akinniyi

| Social Entrepreneur | Publisher @glintstonemag & @thenewstrackng| Comm & Social Perception strategist at Quid communications | Gem collector @nphenakite

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